Good posture at address, bending from the waist, knees flexed, and keeping the back as straight as your body will allow. In starting the club back, I recommend extending the arc by directing the clubhead a bit outside the plane keeping the shaft relatively vertical with the arms in front of the body, before the club flattens out at the top. Of course, the chest leads the way with arms and hands connected to the core. At the top, the shoulders rotate as much as possible for your body, and the back is as much facing the target as is possible for your particular flexibility. The shaft is a near vertical 90 degrees in relation to the ground which has the advantage of it weighing less in your hands and consequently producing more swing speed coming down. Now with the wrists fully cocked, you can rerout the shaft to the inside, ala Ryan Moore, Sergio, and Ricky. With a steady head, you can now swing freely into the ball coming from the inside and on plane. Keeping a measured swing with a straight left arm, you have a good chance of meeting the ball square and solid, avoiding tops, fats, slices, and snap hooks. The swing is the same for irons and woods, the only difference being the length of the shafts and subsequent swing arcs, meaning that the longer the club, the more challenging to keep control of the shot. Get the weight to the forward side at the start of the downswing. The hips, led by the belt buckle, will turn on their own, slightly ahead of the upper body as the weight starts to shift forward. Just make sure the arms swing freely on an inside out plane.
Tiger Woods should retire from competitive golf. He is unwilling to adapt his swing to his age and infirmities. He is unwilling to accept the fact that he cannot swing as explosively as he did when he was 25. He has accomplished more than most golfers in the history of the game. Off the course, his foundation has helped countless children realize their potentials. He will be remembered as long as golf will be played, as Michael Jordan will be remembered in relation to basketball, Roger Federer to tennis, Willie Mays to baseball, Jim Brown to football, and, of course, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus to golf. Another all time great, Bobby Jones, came to terms with what golf was doing to his mind and body, and retired at 28 after winning the Grand Slam of his day. His legend endured for the rest of his life, and continues today.
In my estimation, Tiger’s swing is out of kilter. His chipping is erratic. His putting stroke no longer holds up to pressure. He is no longer the greatest green reader in the history of the game. His scoring is too inconsistent for tournament golf.
Tiger, face reality and retire to raise your kids, inspire other kids, and be one of the great ambassadors to grow the noble game of golf.
Players to watch in the majors this year include Justin Thomas (Masters, PGA), Jordan Speith (Masters), Hideki Matsuyama (Masters, PGA), Jon Rahm (PGA), Henrik Stenson (US Open, British), Sergio Garcia (British), and Shane Lowry (US Open, British). I predict Jason, Dustin, Ricky, Rory, and Justin will contend but will not win any majors this year.
The game will suffer from the presidency of Donald Trump, staining it further as a sport for the rich and famous. With Arnold gone, I see no one on the scene to pick up the cudgel promoting it as a game for the working class, as he did for me when I took up the game in 1960.
The rules of golf will continue to bifurcate this year, acknowledging that playing the game for fun is much different than for those who compete. I know purists will disagree but more people will come to and stick with the game if they can bump the ball to a better lie on the poorly manicured fairways most of us play on. Put another way, that translates as winter rules year-round for most golfers.
Approaching the game mindfully means staying present with your experience whatever the results. It means doing your very best, and suspending judgement of the outcome. Each shot should be approached as if it were your first shot, untainted by any previous score. Buddhists call this beginner’s mind. If you’re not sure what this means, watch an infant at play, delighting in her own toes, a kitten who swats at a toy or a falling leaf each time as if he never saw the toy or falling leaf before, or a dog who retrieves a ball or stick as if it were the first time she’s ever seen its master throw anything before.
This is how you renew your interest in the game every time you play it. It puts the passion back in your hands, those highly sensitive instruments that have within their cellular memory the feel of a solidly hit golf shot, and your ears that long for the sound of a well hit shot, and your eyes that remember the lift off, and long hang time, and butterfly landing of a ball near the cup.
Of course, most of like to score well. It gives us a sense of concrete achievement that we don’t often get elsewhere in life. But playing golf mindfully adds an extra dimension of feeding the soul, even linking us to the very first golfers who ever played the game.
For a good read, pick up my book The Mindful Golfer: How to Lower Your Handicap While Raising Your Consciousness.